Camai Indians


By: Thomas N. Campbell

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: June 1, 1995


In 1740 the name Camai was recorded twice on the same day in the baptismal register of San Antonio de Valero Mission of San Antonio. It is given as the ethnic affiliation of an unnamed woman whose two orphan children were baptized. This woman and her husband, a Tuu (Toho), were said to have previously died "in the woods." Thus, though Herbert E. Bolton assumes the presence of Camais at Valero, it is not certain that any Camai individuals were ever actually there. Because the name Camai has not been found in other documents, the original homeland of the Camai Indians remains unknown and their ethnic identity cannot be determined. By 1740 so many Indian groups had been displaced that a record of Camai-Toho intermarriage is no indication that both groups originally lived in the same area or were linguistically and culturally related. J. R. Swanton entered the name Camai on his list of Indian groups who may have spoken the Coahuilteco language. Swanton, who never examined the Valero Mission registers, obtained the name Camai from Bolton's list of Indian groups said to have been represented at Valero. Since Coahuilteco was spoken by many of the Indians at Valero, Swanton evidently thought that the Camais may also have spoken that language. His assumption is not supported by such evidence as is now available.

Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). J. R. Swanton, Linguistic Material from the Tribes of Southern Texas and Northeastern Mexico (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1940).
Categories:
  • Peoples
  • Native American
  • Tribes (Other)

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Thomas N. Campbell, “Camai Indians,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 25, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/camai-indians.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

1976
June 1, 1995